Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as for his major prose work Biographia Literaria. Throughout his adult life, Coleridge suffered from crippling bouts of anxiety and depression; it has been speculated that he suffered from bipolar disorder, a mental disorder which was unknown during his life. Coleridge chose to treat these episodes with opium, becoming an addict in the process. This addiction would affect him in the future. His poem “The rime of the Ancient Mariner” was published in 1798 in Lyrical Ballads, then revised and published in 1817 in the version that is popular today. The characters are the Ancient Mariner: Old sailor who roams from country to country to tell a strange tale. Wedding Guest: Man on the way to a wedding reception with two other men. The mariner singles out the wedding guest to hear his tale. Two Hundred Crewmen: Ill-fated members of the ship carrying the mariner. Pilot: Boatman who rescues the mariner. (A pilot is an official who guides ships into and out of a harbor.) Pilot’s Boy: Pilot’s assistant.
Hermit: Holy man who absolves the mariner and hears his story. Albatross: Large, web-footed sea bird with a hooked bill. Most species of albatrosses wander the southern seas, from tropical regions down to Antarctica, drinking sea water and feeding on squid, cuttlefish, and other small sea creatures. Sometimes, they follow ships to feed on their garbage. Albatrosses have an astonishing ability to glide in the wind, sometimes for hours, but have difficulty staying aloft without a wind. In the latter case, they sit on the water to rest or sleep. When it is time to breed, they go ashore. An old superstition says killing an albatross brings bad luck, although sailors have been known to kill and eat them. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner has helped make this superstition common knowledge throughout the world among landlubbers as well as sailors. In modern parlance, a person or an event that brings bad luck is often referred to as an albatross. The poem is rich in figures of speech like Alliteration By thy long grey beard and glittering eye (line 3) He holds him with his skinny hand (line 9) The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast, For he heard the loud bassoon. (lines 31-32) The merry minstrelsy (line 36) The furrow followed free (line 104). Anaphora The ice was here, the ice was there, The ice was all around. (line 59-60) With throats unslaked, with black lips baked (line 157) Without a breeze, without a tide (line 169) Her lips were red, her looks were free, Her locks were yellow as gold: Her skin was as white as leprosy (lines 190-192) They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose, Irony Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink ; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. (lines 119-122) Water is everywhere, but there is none to drink. Metaphor Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, And cursed me with his eye. (lines 215-216) Comparison of the appearance of the eye to a curse They coil'd and swam; and every track Was a flash of golden fire. (lines 281-282) Comparison of the wake left by the sea snakes to fire.. Onomatopoeia It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd (line 61). Personification The Sun came up upon the left, Out of the sea came he ! And he shone bright, and on the right Went down into the sea. (lines 25-28) Comparison of the sun to a person. Simile [E]very soul, it passed me by, Like the whizz of my crossbow! (lines 223-224) Comparison of the passing of a soul to the sound of a shot arrow [T]he sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky Lay like a load on my weary eye (lines 251-252) Comparison of the sky and sea to a weight on the eye Her beams bemocked the sultry main, Like April hoar-frost spread (lines 268-269) Comparison of reflected sunbeams to frost The bride...
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